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Effect of exercise training on plasma levels of C-reactive protein in healthy adults: the HERITAGE Family Study

Timo A. Lakka, Hanna-Maaria Lakka, Tuomo Rankinen, Arthur S. Leon, D.C. Rao, James S. Skinner, Jack H. Wilmore, Claude Bouchard
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehi394 2018-2025 First published online: 29 June 2005


Aims To study the effect of exercise training on plasma C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

Methods and results We performed a 20 week standardized exercise training programme in 652 sedentary healthy white and black men and women. C-reactive protein was measured with a high sensitivity assay. The study sample was stratified according to baseline C-reactive protein levels using a recommended classification (low <1.0 mg/L, n=265; moderate 1.0–3.0 mg/L, n=225; high >3.0 mg/L, n=162). The median C-reactive protein reduction was 1.34 mg/L in the high baseline C-reactive protein group. C-reactive protein levels did not change in the low or moderate baseline C-reactive protein groups. The difference among the C-reactive protein groups was significant adjusting for all correlates of baseline C-reactive protein (P<0.001) and additionally for changes in body weight, glucose, insulin, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and maximal oxygen uptake (P<0.001). The C-reactive protein reduction in the high baseline C-reactive protein group was consistent across all population groups (P<0.001 for difference among baseline C-reactive protein groups).

Conclusion Plasma C-reactive protein levels are reduced in response to exercise training in sedentary healthy adults with high initial C-reactive protein levels. This finding may partly explain the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

  • Exercise
  • C-reactive protein
  • Inflammation
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
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